Lectures

Pains, pleasures, and a new electric wheelchair

This article is part of the series:

A Wednesday in May 2017, Vienna, Austria

The door opens. Behind it is Frau Schöbel, a tiny woman in her early seventies.[1] Through her glasses, her eyes are piercing. Her lipstick is impeccable and matched to the scarf tied around her neck. 

Frau Schöbel is one of the people I met on the dialysis unit at the City hospital …

Lectures

First in Masks? How Czechs Wore Face Masks When There Weren’t Any Available

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On March 18, 2020, the Czech Republic became the first country in Europe to legislate mandatory coverage of the mouth and nose in all public areas in an attempt to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. One could no longer walk down the street, use public transport, enter shops or pharmacies, go to school, or pass through communal areas of shared …

Lectures

Sharing responsibilities, coping with the coronavirus: why Swedish and French response strategies are not that different

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Citizens, governments and academics spend much time these days with one activity: making comparisons.[1] National response strategies to cope with the coronavirus are compared, as well as whether these strategies are based upon expert knowledge and/or political decisions. These comparisons have a strong national focus. Why nations with a large spread of the virus – such as France, Italy …

Lectures

COVID-19, the Freedom to Die, and the Necropolitics of the Market

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Field hospital constructed in Gothenburg, Sweden in March 2020. Photo: Helén Sjöland.

While reading Giorgio Agamben’s (2020) anthropological note on the “danger” of habituation of Italians to bare life under a state of exception invoked in the name of an allegedly “manufactured” crisis, what comes to our minds – also within the broader context of the pandemic and its …

Lectures

Silent Spring in Europe calls for a New Social Ecology

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Deserted streets in Rome, empty dance-halls in Berlin, died-out tourist attractions in Barcelona, and a lonely Eiffel-Tower in Paris: Europe is experiencing its first locked-down spring. It marks an experiential as well as a paradoxical break in our everyday lives. On the one hand, Covid-19 has emerged as a brutal, tragic and unquestionable fact within world society. On the other …

Lectures

Austerity, Not COVID-19, Strains National Healthcare Systems

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Spain and Italy, two of the countries most affected early on by COVID-19, were also among the EU member-states that underwent severe and extended austerity measures following the last global economic recession. These measures significantly weakened publicly funded healthcare systems in both countries, and as it is particularly relevant to understanding the trajectories of pandemic, constrained public sector response. 

The …